New York. Indonesia is lobbying other countries to support the Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday.
“We will seek any opportunity to ensure that Palestine’s bid for UN membership, if that is what the Palestinians really want, gets international support,” he said after meeting with Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov at the UN General Assembly.
Marty emphasized cooperation with Kazakhstan through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of which both countries belong.
In a bilateral meeting with Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas, he also said Indonesia has always encouraged a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian problem.
Marty is scheduled to meet with ministers of the UN Palestinian committee on Thursday. He will meet with ministers of the OIC on Friday.
That same day, Palestine will formally apply for UN membership, despite US opposition. After receiving Palestine’s application, the UN secretary general will study it and send it to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.
The Security Council must approve the application with a resolution. If nine of its 15 members support it, and if nobody vetoes it, the application will pass.
If that happens, the General Assembly, now consisting of 193 member countries, will examine the Security Council’s recommendations. Members will then conduct their own vote to pass or deny the application.
Palestine will face its biggest obstacle at the Security Council level, since the United States — Israel’s strong ally — is one of the council members.
The US government has promised to use its veto power to stop the bid because it believes a Palestinian state can be established through negotiations.
Given the US threat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has hinted at some flexibility. He suggested that it is possible he will change his mind at the last minute, asking to become a nonmember observer rather than a full UN member.
Some parties believe Palestine will have a better chance of succeeding if it seeks nonmember observer state status.
Abbas will announce his choice on Friday during a speech at the General Assembly.
When asked which route the Palestinian president was likely to take, Marty referred to the membership application process.
“If the issue is taken to the Security Council, Palestine needs to secure support from nine council members because a veto may only be used if the votes reach more than nine,” he said.
“However, if the application is vetoed, well, we’ll see what that will mean.
“As we have been emphasizing to all parties, the Palestinian [bid for membership] is not opposed to the negotiation process, but is rather aimed at encouraging it.”